We look at the best digital compacts available for less than £250
1. Nikon Coolpix A10
Packing a 16MP sensor, the Nikon Coolpix A10 is peerless for offering quality images in the cheapest package imaginable. Costing just £69, running on two AA batteries, the Coolpix A10 also offers a 5x optical zoom and the capacity to shoot 720p HD video. A selection of smart modes and in-camera effects also help the novice make their pictures pop, making the A10 a great choice for introducing someone to photography.
2. Canon IXUS 175
Squeaking in just below the £100 mark, the Canon IXUS 175 is a slim and stylish compact that still manages to cram in a 20MP sensor and an 8x optical zoom lens. With Smart Auto functionality to help you get used to the settings, the IXUS 175 is a simple and straightforward take-everywhere camera. If you’re taking family snaps then the Face Detection functionality should come in handy.
3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ10 Digital Camera
Panasonic’s travel compacts have a great reputation, and the SZ10 represents a slimmed-down, inexpensive recreation of these. For £115 you get a 16MP ½.3” high sensitivity MOS sensor, with extra handy features such as a tilting LCD screen and optical image stabilisation. Couple that with a 12x optical zoom lens and built-in Wi-fi with easy, instant connection, and you’ve got a terrific all-around imaging package for an extremely tempting price.
4. Fuji FinePix XP90 Digital Camera
Need something a little tougher? Fuji offers its waterproof XP range at nicely competitive prices, and you won’t go wrong with the XP90. Waterproof to depths of up to 15m, freezeproof down to -10°, shockproof against drops of up to 1.75m, and dustproof to keep out small particles, the XP90 is a hardy traveller that will be able to take whatever your adventures throw at it, while still producing terrific images to boot. All for £179.
5. Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera
At the upper end of the budget range, but still nice and cheap at £219, is the Nikon Coolpix B500. This gets us into bridge camera territory, with the bulkier body and pronounced handgrip of the B500 being visually reminiscent of a DSLR. The 40x zoom allows photographers to get close to the action, while the tactile controls include a model dial for quick settings selection. A perfect first step into serious photography.